World Wetlands Day


World Wetland Day is observed annually on February 2nd, with the aim of recognizing the essence of its crucial role in human prosperity and a healthy planet. This day marks the inception of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran, on February 2nd, 1917.

The Standing Committee of the Convention has approved the theme for World Wetlands Day 2024 as “Wetlands and human wellbeing.”

2024 is about the interconnectedness between wetlands and various aspects of human health. The day also underscores the need for sustainable management of wetlands to prevent their degradation.

Although the convention was adopted in 1917, it officially came into force in December 1975. As of 2024, 172 countries are part of the Ramsar Convention. Pakistan joined the convention in July 1976. It was the twelfth country to join the convention and the second in Asia after Iran.

Importance of Wetlands

The convention focuses on three pillars that define the purpose of its inception. The first pillar encourages the sustainable use of wetlands. The second pillar emphasizes conservation and designating suitable wetlands under the Ramsar List to manage them effectively.

The third pillar underscores the importance of international cooperation to address transboundary issues related to wetlands, share knowledge and expertise, and work collectively to achieve the objectives of the Convention.

Citing the Ramsar Convention more than one billion people depend on them for a living, and 40 percent of the world’s species live and breed in wetlands. They are a key source for food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower; they mitigate floods, protect coastlines, and build community resilience to disasters. They also play a crucial role in transport, tourism, and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people.

World wetland Day is celebrated globally through educational events, community clean-up activities, seminars, and discussions on wetland conservation. Governments, non-governmental organizations, and communities worldwide participate in efforts to preserve these valuable ecosystems.

Inger Anderson urges Global Action to Protect Wetlands

Inger Anderson, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), gives a statement on February 1, 2024, about the critical role played by wetlands in sustaining our health and environment. Anderson stresses the importance of protecting and restoring wetlands while highlighting ongoing water degradation issues.

Moreover, she called on nations to join the Freshwater Challenge, a global initiative launched at the UN 2023 Water Conference, where 44 member states pledged to protect and restore 300,000 kilometres of degraded rivers and 350 million hectares of degraded wetlands by 2030.

Furthermore, this move aligns with international commitments and recognizes water and wetland management as significant factors in addressing environmental challenges.

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Anderson pointed out that financing for nature-based solutions for wetlands is still not enough. To address this, UNEP is actively collaborating with tech companies to map global wetlands using satellite imagery and AI, providing crucial data for targeted and well-funded interventions.

On World Wetlands Day, Anderson called more nations to join the Fresh Water Challenge and funding bodies, including the private sector, to step up and support nature-based solutions for wetlands.

“Go to a wetland, and you will see and experience things that cannot just be put into words,” Anderson stated.


Saudha Hira
Saudha Hira
A dedicated student of International Relations at the University of Karachi (UOK), and a passionate explorer of Long-form Journalism. She is keen to understand the changing dynamics of International Affairs and how states use multi-vector foreign policy in a contemporary era to acquire their interest. She is eager to contribute to the discourse on Intricate geopolitical matters. She can be reached at

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